Today’s Daily Post’s prompt, Smoke,created an instant memory of the time when I discovered that smoke and roller coasters do not mix!
Let me explain.
Seven or eight years ago, my family and I took a trip to Florida to visit one of the many entertainment parks. And being the roller coaster family that we are, all of us were looking forward to riding new coasters.
However, the Saturday prior to our vacation, I had spent about six hours helping with a fund-raiser in which wonderful bbq chicken was sold. Given the wind direction that day and the amount of smoke coming from the large, very large, portable grill used to cook the chicken, I spent most of my time in a cloud of bbq flavored smoke.
When I got to Florida and the higher humidity, I was miserable and I failed to bring my allergy and sinus medications with me. So, as I often describe it, I had two large elephants in my sinus cavities and ears due to the humidity and the smoke.
The result was a nauseating sickness after riding my first coaster which left me watching the rest of the family have fun.
Since then, I am always careful around campfires and other smoke filled environments.
I learned that smoke and roller coasters don’t necessary mix!
I immediately think of the Southern United States, more specifically the Southeastern United States.
My roots, from what I have been able to determine, extend throughout the Southeastern US from Virginia to South Carolina to Kentucky and to Tennessee, my mother’s birth place.
Her roots are Scot, Irish, and Native American.
But for 70 years she called the Buckeye State (Ohio) home, having packed up all her earthly possessions the day after she graduated from High School and moved to the southwestern part of Ohio.
I well remember a trip in 1969 to her hometown and how I woke up one morning in a feather bed well rested and sat down to a breakfast of steak and eggs! My 11 year old stomach welcomed the meal!
And I am a Tennessee Volunteer fan at heart! Go Vols!
And while I acknowledge the tensions of history in regard to the American south and the heinousness of slavery I also affirm and acknowledge the many contributions of the south including those of the African American community.
While I am grateful for many buddies, such as college roommates who I still have contact with nearly 40 years later, and I have professional colleagues who I chat with from time to time, and I have other male friends that I can and do “tell the truth to” about what is going on inside of me, my buddy is our cat, Hanna.
It has been eight and a half years ago since my youngest, flush with birthday cash, had an epiphany as he and my wife left the elementary school where he went and she worked at and, for the umpteenth time, drove past the county animal shelter.
“Mom, what if Jonathon and I, paid for a cat’s adoption?’
Well, as I said then, and still do, “the three Kane men suddenly had more than mom’s four votes. ”
Two weeks into the new year, 2008, we brought Hanna home and she has ruled, er, been, with us ever since. I can still remember her coming to the front of her cage as if to say, “You’re mine!”
This is the second black cat we have had (our first was a stray and we had him for 16 years until we had to humanely put him down due to thyroid cancer) and she has been fun have as part of our family.
Please check you local animal shelter for a pet if you are looking for one as there are many good ones ready to be adopted.
The first word that has came to mind is generative.
Generative means according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary
having the power or function of generating, originating, producing, or reproducing
But I am thinking of it as used by the late developmental psychologist Erik Erikson in his classic stage called Generativity vs Stagnation the positive side of which results in care.
Now in my late 50’s, I am reflecting on my active parenting years which will soon come to an end with my youngest heading off to college in the fall. I am grateful that my two sons have launched and are launching into early adulthood well grounded.
But I want to continue to be a person of deep generativity and care for those younger and older around me and the pull of stagnation is strong at times with the temptation to despair and cynicism close by.
So I must draw on my faith and ask my God for help to be a person of faith, hope, and love. I must also stay connected to my wife and family, my faith community, and the network of friends, far and wide, to be productive and generous
Tell us about a book you can read again and again without getting bored — what is it that speaks to you?
Around 25 years ago a now late friend showed me a new book out by a man who had a rebirth of faith and a turnaround of life through the 12 Steps of AA. The man was the late Keith Miller.
The book was A Hunger for Healing: The Twelve Steps as a Classic Model for Christian Spiritual Growth
I have read this book many, many times over these past 25 years and I even replaced the original hardcover that I lost in a fire with the paperback I have today.
I know that there are those who have difficulty with; do not believe in; totally reject the 12 Steps. I acknowledge and respect them. However, given my life, I have found that there have been habits and more importantly, attitudes that have caused me pain and caused pain in others.
Having walked through this book, I have been given a tool to work on those habits and attitudes that bring me down and affect my relationship with my God, my family and friends, and even my work.
It is a book that I can read over and over and find help and insight in and through each time I read it. It also serves to remind me that there is a God, my Higher Power if you will, who wants to help me overcome and live more free, more authentically, more humanly.
Ugh. I probably should, but it is hard to watch me on the screen. And when I hear my voice, I think, “Why do I sound THAT way?” (I have been told that it is very southwestern Ohio, which is where I am from.)
This comes out of a desire to NOT be the center of attention. It is comes from a desire to get out of the way of my words and let others hear God speak to them.
In my profession, words are currency. Words are powerful. Words speak to a deeper reality.
So I choose my words carefully. I am trying, especially after reading a portion of a book on preaching which encourages ministers to give the audience (the congregation) space to listen and reflect, pace my speaking.
As for the video taping? Maybe I need to not listen to my critical voice that says, “You are being vain!” and watch and listen.